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Magbanua indicted for first degree murder in Markel case

(WCTV)
Published: Nov. 21, 2016 at 12:08 PM EST
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By: WCTV Eyewitness News

November 29, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Katherine Magbanua has been indicted on first degree murder charges in the death of Florida State University professor Dan Markel.

A grand jury handed down the indictment on Tuesday afternoon.

Dan Markel was shot and killed in his driveway in July 2014. Prosecutors contend that Magbanua was part of a murder-for-hire plot.

Magbanua was arrested in October.

Sigfredo Garcia, the father of Magbanua's children, is also facing murder charges in Markel's death.

A third defendant, Luis Rivera, already entered a plea in the case and was sentenced to 19 years in prison. As part of that plea deal, Rivera agreed to testify against both Garcia and Magbanua.

Magbanua's attorney Tara Kawass sent us this statement on today's indictment:

“Because Katie has maintained the truth, that she is innocent and had nothing to do with this, the prosecution has decided to tighten the screws a little more. That’s how they broke Rivera and got him to lie. But Katie is much stronger that that thug. Plus, she has the truth on her side. That’s a powerful ally.”

Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman says the grand jury reviewing this case is a brand new grand jury, so TPD's lead investigator and an FBI agent both went behind closed doors to share detailed information about Markel's murder and the investigation that followed.

Magbanua is "the only person we're asking them to consider today," Cappleman said of the grand jury review.

" ... and she's the key to any future arrests in this case in your mind?" one reporter asked.

"She could be," Cappleman said.

Police believe the motive for Markel's murder was a custody battle between Markel and his ex-wife. Prosecutors believe the ex-wife's family is involved in the murder for hire scheme, but lawyers for the Adelsons have repeatedly denied any involvement and none of the family members has been charged with a crime.

'It's hard to present this case without mentioning the Adelson family," Cappleman said, "but as I said, we're not asking the grand jury to review the case for any indictments against any Adelsons today."


By: Julie Montanaro

November 21, 2016

Prosecutors intend to present their case against Katherine Magbanua to a grand jury next week.

Magbanua was arrested in October. She is facing second degree murder charges in the death of FSU professor Dan Markel.

Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman says the grand jury is scheduled for November 29th and she will seek a first degree murder indictment against Magbanua.

Markel was shot and killed in his driveway in July 2014. Prosecutors contend Magbanua was part of a murder for hire plot.

Sigfredo Garcia - father of Magbanua's children - is also facing murder charges in Markel's death.

Fellow suspect Luis Rivera already entered a plea in the case and was sentenced to 19 years in prison. As part of that plea deal, Rivera will have to testify against Garcia and Magbanua.

Magbanua is scheduled to go before a judge for a case management hearing on December 6th and a bond reduction hearing December 9th. It's not clear yet if the grand jury decision could impact either of those scheduled hearings.

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